Sorel criticised the notion of progress, very popular at the turn of the twentieth century, and his Reflexions on violence gave him, on the spot, some celebrity. According to him, the indefinite perfectibility of man is a lure fabricated by optimists in order to mislead the people. By contrast, there is no better way to mobilise the workers’ movement than the myth of violence. To prove his point of view, Sorel breaks the affinity which exists between "force" and "violence", two terms usually tied together. Force is defined as a tool of bourgeois domination; violence the weapon used by workers, in legitimate defense, against their aggressors. The new meanings Sorel gives to the basic terms of his argumentation are not always fully convincing. Mots clés: violence, perfectibilité, mythe, optimisme, pessimisme.
Keywords: Violence, perfectibility, myth, optimism, pessimism.